Stark renderings that go beyond simple aesthetic judgment produced by some of the artists who perished in concentration...

IMPRISONED

DRAWINGS FROM NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMPS

A visual testament to the horrors of Nazi cruelty is revived a generation after it first appeared.

Nonagenarian Benvenuti, a poet, critic, and scholar, hated the Nazis who moved into his native Italy. During the war, he “was tempted by the resistance movement,” though not enough to join it. After the war, provoked by conscience, he compiled a volume containing a few hundred depictions of the Holocaust, in black and white, by artists who were nearly all captive victims of Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald, and other concentration camps. Included was famous illustrator Feliks Topolski, who was present at the liberation of some camps; his works were presented as evidence at Nuremberg. Benvenuti’s book, first issued in a limited edition in 1983 featuring a foreword by Primo Levi (included here), was titled KZ, a German—and Yiddish—abbreviation for “concentration camp” or “internee.” The author, whom Levi calls “an observant and devout man, sensitive to the past and the present,” has added a handful of poems to the present edition. The images are arranged alphabetically by artist, a few well-known, most not. There are many portraits of hollow-eyed, gaunt prisoners, multiple scenes of guards at their work, several views of hangings, and scores of drawings of the skeletal dead and dying. Such works are beyond the now-banal pop depictions that increasingly displace firsthand witness. Collections like this may help inform a growing generation that knows nothing of the Holocaust or its lessons, but this is not the only place where such art may be found. Many of the same images are quite nicely reproduced in Janet Blatter’s Art of the Holocaust, published in 1981.

Stark renderings that go beyond simple aesthetic judgment produced by some of the artists who perished in concentration camps.

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5107-0666-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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